Gamard’s Beltway Beat

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy has had a busy week. He sent several messages across federal agencies, including one asking for healthcare payment reform from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, another asking U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study the "most effective anti-opioid addiction education," and a third outlining the benefits of "using natural gas to fulfill energy needs" to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. He’s also one of the 39 senators who signed the letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan urging them to prevent construction of the Russia-Germany natural gas pipeline. His child identity fraud protection bill passed the Senate, his bill to end taxpayer-funded paintings of government officials passed the House, and he now has another bill to "provide justice to victims of the Stanford Ponzi Scheme." Here’s the senior senator in committee claiming “abuse” of the 340B drug pricing program. He appeared on Bloomberg Daybreak to talk drug price transparency and White House turnover: "Everybody is concerned...When there’s so much turnover, of course you’re concerned. So hopefully the president considers that when he makes these personal changes."

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, after demanding the United Airlines explain why 18 of the 24 animals who died in major U.S. airlines’ care were on its planes, is filing a bill: "I’d rather make it the law that animals aren’t to be treated like an old piece of luggage." He and Cassidy have a bill to help Louisiana school districts affected by the 2016 flood. Here’s his letter to the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole opposing the early release of an Angola prisoner, claiming Gov. John Bel Edwards’ "so-called criminal justice reform package" gave the convict an "undeserved gift," and his later thanks that the committee chose not to release him "despite Gov. Edwards’ efforts to free dangerous inmates."

— Congressman Steve Scalise spent the week warning that Democrats will raise taxes if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is elected Speaker of the House at the a leadership press conference, and talks about further tax cuts, the Goodlatte-McCaul immigration bill and President Trump’s response to Russian aggression on Fox News: "If you look at what they (the Russians) did in our elections, he’s finally taking action when the previous administration didn’t." Here’s some of the  House Majority Whip’s praise for the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act: "Clearly, there are more things that need to be done, but this is one of those things that actually gets to the heart of addressing the problem to stop school violence before a tragedy happens."

— Congressman Cedric Richmond has been celebrating Women’s History Month with Facebook posts, along with commending the high school students who walked out of class in light of the Parkland mass shooting: "I stand with them because every American deserves to feel safe at school, at the movies, at concerts, at nightclubs, and in their neighborhoods."

— Congressman Clay Higgins is applauding the reinstatement of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction: "We can’t expect to compete internationally for private investment if we continue to allow politically-slanted plaintiffs and activist judges to wage war on the oil and gas industry." He said on his body passing the STOP Violence Act, "A need still exists for comprehensive data regarding which security assets are deployed at each of the 95,000-plus public schools in America, and further, tactical training standards for school security must be established."

— Congressman Mike Johnson appeared on Fox Business to talk the Trump border wall and failed legislation that would allow experimental drugs for terminally ill patients: "That was a real heartbreak for a lot of people who are really suffering." He also defended pro-life community pregnancy centers on the House floor.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham met with U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, and commemorated Panola Pepper founder Grady "Bubber" Brown on the floor. The congressman, Cassidy and Kennedy are some of the lawmakers asking United Nations U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley to omit pro-choice, pro-abortion language in international policies: "The U.S. must expend more energy on robust, pro-life participation in U.N. social policy debates."

— Congressman Garret Graves spent the week visiting the Abundant Life Church's reopening, touring the Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company and helping donate a Baton Rouge sleuth of Smokey Bear dolls to the National Museum of Forest Service History. He met with New Roads Mayor Anthony Daisy to talk flood control, economic development and the Farm Bill and gave a Facebook shoutout to Livingston Parish contestant Laine Hardy on this season of American Idol — by the way, if you haven’t watched that audition tape, it looks like judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry have some questions about Looziana lifestyle.

SPONSORED: Working Together To Revive A 40-Year-Old Educational Program

Another win for Lafayette and UL Lafayette! After closing 40 years ago, UL Lafayette’s lab school is another step closer to being

WEEKLY: Senate Isn’t Only Chamber Facing Change

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on June 21, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community

WEEKLY: Know Your Congressional Districts

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on June 21, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community

Alford: A Memorandum From The Other Side

A MEMORANDUM FROM THE OTHER SIDE We hope this edition of The Tracker finds you rested and peaceful. If not, hurry and catch up. Because we

PolitiSigns, Adam Chapman & An Industry Update

Nothing declares election season is underway in Louisiana like campaign signs. And they're starting to sprout up everywhere, from country

Alford: Assumptions Are Dangerous In Governor’s Race

With 2018’s session-palooza out of the way (hopefully), Gov. John Bel Edwards can begin focusing on re-election. He’s not on the ballot

Q&A With Bob Livingston: “Republicans Are Going To Keep Control”

LaPolitics staff writer Mitch Rabalais: You were in the House leadership during Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton. What is your take

Rabalais: Louisiana’s First Congresswoman

On October 16, 1972, the political orbits in both Louisiana and Washington, D.C. were shocked by the sudden disappearance of then-House

POLITICAL CHATTER

— Special Assistant to the Governor Micah Cormier (@micahjcormier): “@LouisianaGov and @Coach_EdOrgeron spent the afternoon together in NOLA

Gamard: Hellish Helsinki & What Your Congressmen Said

If you need a refresher: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met behind closed doors in Helsinki, Finland to discuss

#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 07/17: Keith Courville and Anthony Sanchez — Wednesday 07/18: Rep. Tony Bacala, Margo DuBos and John DeSantis — Thursday 07/19:

Social Media & Dan Claitor

For our season finale of Hashtag Louisiana, LaPolitics staff writer Mitch Rabalais interviews Dan Claitor, Louisiana's state

PEAS IN A POD: Pastors & Politics

Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum thinks a rather holy wave may be building for the 2019 election cycle. (Not only for the House and

LOWDOWN: The Price of Politics & Politicians

   What would you do for $16,800? Would you take a stressful, full-time job for $16,800 annually? Probably not. But guess who would? If you

SPONSORED: Louisiana Primary Care Association Announces Positive Step Forward In Healthcare

The Picard Group client Louisiana Primary Care Association (LPCA) recently announced an impressive step forward for healthcare in Louisiana.

POD: Politics According to Alton

He’s a staple of Capitol life and an influencer in Louisiana politics. He's lobbyist Alton Ashy of Advanced Strategies, and he's our guest

LOWDOWN: How A Podcast Gets Made

Here at LaPolitics, we like to use our videos and podcasts to teach you something you don’t already know. So in this week’s Lowdown, we’re

Ronnie, Riverboats & Re-Election Campaigns

His father pitched for The New York Yankees before gaining his political chops in Bunkie, Louisiana, just like his son did. So who is it

SPONSORED: Celebrating 25 Years Of Burkenroad Reports

Twenty-five years ago, Professor Peter Ricchiuti founded a unique learning opportunity for Tulane University graduate students that has not

PRE-SINE DIE Q&A WITH SEN. BRET ALLAIN

LaPolitics: That final Finance vote in HB 1 was such a break from the session rhythm. Quick, unemotional and transactional. Was that

ALFORD: The Capitol’s Dirty Little Secret

The governor of Louisiana is not politically omnipotent. (I’m referring to the storied position of governor, not the man or the woman who

RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY: John Breaux’s Last-Minute Win Over Henson Moore

U.S. Sen. Russell B. Long’s announcement that he would retire after 36 years in the upper chamber was unexpected, as he had been building

PHOTO GALLERY: The Final Four Hours Of The Special Session That Never Was

   

“Members, It Is 12 a.m.”

It’s called a photo finish for a reason, not that the House, Senate and Edwards Administration would need photographic evidence to help sort

VIDEO: Who’s The Man Behind The Tree?

When politicians want your money, the idea is bound to come up. "Don't tax you. Don't tax me. Tax the man behind the tree." But who is